Lesson #2: Speakers
Speakers Pull A Crowd
People constantly ask us what the secret to hosting awesome sold out events is. They always expect us to answer with “If you send $200 worth of Adwords before the event you will sell out” or “If you send out a newsletter at exactly 2:15pm local time, your event will sell out!”. The truth is, it all comes down to getting the best speakers you can get. This will make or break an event.
When reaching out to speakers, there are two crucial questions you must first ask, they are:
- Will this person educate and inspire a room full of entrepreneurs?
- Will their personal and company brand create enough excitement to fill the room?
Truly find the most amazing speakers in your area and go after them. Try to avoid speakers that already speak a lot or are (if you are in a larger city) not related to tech. Startup Grind focuses on tech related speakers in major metro areas but in smaller cities you'll often highlight local founders. Just remember that finding a founder is key - we help founders tell their story.
It is always better to know somebody connected to them so avoid cold calls and emails if possible. If there is no way, then leverage the reputation we have from Startup Grind’s speakers from recent years, having hosted people like Clayton Christensen (Innovators Dilemma), Scott Cook (Intuit), Jessica Livingston (Y Combinator), Ben Horowitz (Andreessen Horowitz) and more.
When contacting potential speakers, be sure to put emphasis on how they are giving back to the local community of entrepreneurs and helping support it. If they seem pressed for time be sure to mention how easy the fireside chat format is and how all they need to do is show up, and give us an hour of their time. No need for presentations, memorized speeches, or powerpoint prep required. In the beginning we recommend that you start off with medium tier speakers and work your way up from there. Try to leverage the networks of past speakers who had a good experience. As you get in the groove of hosting monthly events try inviting a rockstar speaker every few months. This keeps the events interesting and will attract new attendees to your event every quarter.
Speaker Request Template
If you want more ideas on how to reach out to speakers, check out this " Speaker Request Template". And, if you want more info on getting speakers in general, visit the Speaker category in our help library at: http://help.startupgrind.com/category/70-speakers
Sometimes, especially when the speaker doesn't know Startup Grind that well or an assistant is in charge of scheduling, they might have questions in regards to format, description, promotion material, etc. Be ready for that and feel free to use this template (or adjust it) when taking care of the event logistics.
Speaker Slack Channel
Be sure to join the #speakers channel on Slack, as we consistently receive terrific speaker's submitting their information to speak at your event. If you haven't joined yet, please join here.